The Dallas-based card processing CUSO, which is a subsidiary of credit union-owned Town North Bank, announced that its credit unions will be able to personalize their members' credit and debit cards in the second quarter of 2009.
The service will allow members of participating credit unions to go to a Web site branded by their credit union and upload digital photographs or graphic elements of their choosing. They can also choose from a number of preselected card images, TNB said. Working with TNB, credit unions can engage their members through the card customization experience from the credit unions branded Web site. Cardholders are able to design the look of their card using the convenience of their personal computer.
"Nothing moves a card to top-of-wallet status better than personalization," said Mitch Raymond, senior vice president of product development at TNB. "Cardholders who are emotionally invested in their cards tend to use them much more often, pushing their monthly average balances higher as well as increasing their number of transactions."
The move may give TNB-associated credit unions a leg up in the already tough fight to make sure members make the CU's credit card their favorite and reach for it first when they pay with credit. The technology will be available for debit cards too and may also help move members even further away from using cash.
Surveys of card issuers conducted last year by several national financial firm consultants indicated that some larger issuers were looking to adopt card personalization with photos to help drive card usage. Giant card issuer Capital One has already started offering it and the technology has been available from different gift card vendors around the country.
TNB said its card personalization service is designed to appeal to a wide member group, including Generation Y cardholders and potential cardholders, for whom a personalized card is a strong extension of themselves. By making it possible for members to design their own cards, credit unions are less likely to lose them to competing financial institutions, Raymond said.
"This is one more instance where TNB is delivering e-service enhancements and innovation that engage cardholders-especially Generation Y-and simplifies card program management, so our clients can grow their card programs and better serve their members," Raymond explained. "Our card personalization tool is easy to implement and allows credit unions to compete in yet another way with the largest national issuers."
TNB said it would also help credit unions market their card programs with the card personalization service through special offers, in-branch promotions, customized materials, staff incentives, statement inserts and other marketing efforts aimed at building their credit and debit card programs.
TNB partnered with Serverside Group, a developer of online digital card design software applications for card issuers, to offer the tool.
Serverside's president, Adam Elgar, said, "In this market, it's more important than ever to engage members, to bond them with your brand, and that's what TNB clients offering card personalization programs will now be able to do."